Friday, March 23, 2012

A Tribute to Dad

Dad with Steph, Johnny, Mary, and Lisa (last Sunday)

"You no more homework? I'll give you some!" 

As children of my dad, we never wanted to be "homework-less." Dad would always give us more things to do, and they'd be MUCH harder than any homework our teachers could come up with. Circles! Ugh! Ups and downs! Those were our handwriting exercises. We'd have to make sentences using multiple words that we'd have to use the dictionary to discover their meanings--and that was only 1st grade! Our projects were never good enough; we had to make them perfect. 

It worked to my perfectionist side a bit, but I feared I would become an ogre of a parent when homeschooling. Ah, yes! Homeschooling! When a parent's worst nighmares become a reality! Even though I didn't want to push my children more than they needed to be "encouraged" and "exhorted," I think I have done so. Yes, more than once. More than twice. More. Ugh!

What did I learn from my dad? Discipline in education and the love of learning. He taught me good penmanship, yes. He also taught me to play the 'ukulele and to want to dance hula gracefully. He taught me that God is important and he wanted my name to reflect that.

He taught me to love music, even though I am unable to "play by ear" like he does. He taught me to speak in front of a crowd, and--boy!--has that come in handy for paying many bills!

He hated that I went to Notre Dame and would write to me (along with his brother) to try to convince me it was a bad school led by the Jesuits. After finally convincing them that the Holy Cross order ran the school, they left me alone. He also became a HUGE ND fan! :)

Ever since I can remember, my dad cooked our meals in our house. He loves food, and he passed on that love to all us kids. When we lived in Kaimuki and a Korean lady moved across the street from us, he immediately (as soon as he could tactfully) ran across the street to ask Jun if she could teach him how to make Korean food. 

Little did Auntie Jun know how far her tutoring would go. Dad went on to be in charge of the Korean Food Booth at our school's annual fund-raising carnival. For weeks we had kim chee, taegu, and other Korean scents filtering our home. 

Of course, the children had to help out. This was WAAAAAAAAAAAAY before Costco came along! We had to peel--I don't know how many--cloves and cloves of garlic. As we grew older and went to different schools, Dad would always offer his cooking prowess wherever we went. His menu expanded and soon became the International Food Booth, partnering with other leaders. 

Whenever we cooked with Dad, we noticed he didn't use a recipe. VERY OBVIOUS. 

Dad: Put sugar in that bowl.
Me: How much?
Dad: You know, a little.
Me: (After putting a little) 'Nough? 
Dad: No, PUT!
Me: (After putting a little more) K?
Dad: (Walks over and pours about 2 more cups) Just PUT! 


It was hard for him to finally write down his Kalbi recipe, as he'd make some of his great tasting Korean short ribs for the people at the Ground Floor at the previous base whenever he came to visit. I pressed him to help me develop his taste to pass down. Yes, like playing by ear, his cooking talent only sort-of got passed down to me. I like to eat. I like to cook. I don't always get to where my dad gets w/o at least a list of ingredients. I can cook by taste, but sometimes I can't figure out what that special feature is. 

Anyway, I FINALLY got up the nerve to use Dad's recipe. IT WORKED! That is what is a the top: the short ribs marinating and then grilled. :) 

Thank you, Dad! :)


Jenny Girl said...

I love posts like this :) thank you for sharing!

monchan :) said...

Thanks for appreciating it, fellow blogger! :)

Jon Merrifield said...

Wonderful tribute to your dad. I have benefited from his cooking through you!